Photography and Memory

Image of a frame I made about 7 years ago. I've never liked the photo, and because of that, not liking the photo, I've had somewhat negative feelings about the frame itself. The above is my latest attempt at potatochopping the image into something I like, and I'm still not satisfied. This previous weekend, I went to an exhibition on the art of George Ames Aldrich at the Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso University. There, I saw this frame and another of the same pattern on two Aldrich paintings. In person, I liked the frames far more than I had remembered. I have noted this as a phenomenon; I'm never quite pleased with my work until some time has passed. Then, an opportunity arises for me to see the work again, and with a few exceptions, I'm far more pleased with how the frames look than memory served.

Being self-critical is important for the quality of the work, and is a part of the process. Near the end of the carving, I'll hang the frame in viewing position, walk away, do other things, so I can see the frame with fresh eyes. Changing which leg is up is a part of that, and often leads to refinements, and catching subtle errors.

And it is enriching for my ego, to be looking at a piece of art, think it's nicely framed, and then recognize it as my own work. I knew that in an Aldrich exhibit, there would be some of my frames, but these were a surprise, as I have often done frames without ever seeing the actual art. In this case, I actually had to study the frames for awhile, including looking at the label to see ownership, before deciding that, yes, they were mine.



Early Sunday Morning
Edward Hopper
Whitney Museum of American Art

My comment in the previous post needs some elaboration. It has become a cliche of art speak to compare certain kinds of images to the work of Edward Hopper. I, personally am offended for Hopper's sake, as it seems dismissive of him that any "hack job" can be compared to his work. In much the same way that certain aspects of Andrew Wyeth's work have been copied into being a cliche, the rustic aspects of rural decrepitude were for Wyeth, portraits of the people who inhabited that decrepitude, and these were people he was intimately involved with for long periods of time, not just some rustic ruin he happened upon.

In other news, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, has started putting online, some of their publications, with some of the out of print items available for download as PDFs. Of interest to framers is this one: Italian Renaissance Frames

A resource to be explored.

And from Richard Christie, Framemaker, a link to another resource: The Frame Blog


On Art

Approaching Fog

Over on TOP, here, and here, there have been several posts with some good commentary about the work of Doug Rickard in the book "A New American Picture". His work rephotographs and manipulates Google street view images.

Some of my thoughts:

Why is every slightly “lonely” street photo compared to Edward Hopper, when the compared work has none of the psychological or emotional investment Hopper imbued his work with?

I have a pretty loose definition of Art; it can be built on a foundation of 10,000 hours of technical skill and craft, or not. It can come from the hand of a child (Picasso had some thoughts about that) or even the wave action of a great body of water, but it is transcendent of it’s material origins.

I think it’s Art, therefore it is.

As to Rickard's work, I’m ambivalent about the concept, and thus the work, because it is so removed from the actual reality, and seems emotionally distant. Quite the opposite of Edward Hopper. I have the same response to much marble sculpture; it rarely is the hand of the artist who designed the maquette. Michelangelo's David is a notable exception. I guess I like more personal involvement, even if the "hand" is Lake Michigan sculpting a piece of driftwood.
But, as I say, there are some good thoughts on the nature of personal involvement in Art.

I reserve the right to be completely inconsistent. 8-)